Local health departments discuss the impact a coronavirus case would have on schools

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara counties
Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 04, 2020

While no coronavirus cases have been confirmed on the Central Coast, local school districts want to be prepared.

James Brescia, San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools, released a video statement Wednesday afternoon addressing the virus.

“The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education is working with all of our districts throughout the county to formalize response plans should any school or district need to close for any reason. All school administrators were briefed by public health officials today,” Brescia said.

Other officials, like Deputy Health Officer Rick Rosen of the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department, says for the most part, the new coronavirus is not affecting people under the age of 19.

Rosen says all of the recommendations that have been made to schools are the same as those for influenza. That includes cleaning high contact surfaces, washing hands and not getting too close to people coughing or sneezing.

"Most of the transmission in this infection has occurred in close quarters, like at home, if someone was sick. So the idea is, if you notice someone who is coughing or sneezing, try to stay about 6 feet or more away from them and you're likely to be alright," Rosen said.

If the coronavirus were to impact local schools, Public Health says it would happen at a gradual pace over time and the department is prepared.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says they are in constant communication with other counties to ensure everyone is working together.

”If they screen positive, if they’re in the health center, we place a mask on that individual and we have negative zero rooms which are isolation rooms and then we’ll arrange for them to get tested," said Polly Baldwin, the medical director for the department.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are no cases of coronavirus reported in San Luis Obispo County or Santa Barbara County.